Destination Spotlight: Bermuda
This post is also available in: French
Bermuda Island is much closer than you think–less than 3 hours away from Toronto. With our incomparable weather, pink sand beaches, breadth of historic sites and warm, friendly people, it’s no wonder Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted Bermuda “Best Island in the Caribbean/Atlantic” 18 times since 1994.
To start with, many people mistakenly believe our island is part of the Caribbean. In fact, we rest hundreds of miles north of the Bahamas in an astoundingly beautiful stretch of the Atlantic, a mere 650 miles (1,046 kilometers) east of North Carolina. Flights from New York and other eastern US cities reach our shores in less than two hours.
• All of Bermuda fits in a cozy 21 square miles (54 sq km)
• We boast 75 miles (120km) of dramatic coastline
• Bermuda may seem like one continuous landmass to visitors, but is actually made up of 181 islands, islets and rocks. Most of these are uninhabited, but eight of the larger ones are linked by bridges and one causeway that form the subtropical paradise visitors cannot resist
• Our unique location in the Atlantic provides us with an extraordinarily pleasant climate that rarely sees extremes of either hot or cold.
• The Island’s pink beaches are actually a combination of crushed coral, calcium carbonate and the shells of tiny single-celled animals called Foraminifera
With our numbers reaching approximately 65,500, we Bermudians are a diverse group. Look around at our faces and you will see every colour of the rainbow. Listen and you will hear English like you’ve never heard, flavoured with a Bermudian lilt and sounding more like song than speech.
We are flattered about our reputation as some of the friendliest people in the world, and we do our best to keep it that way. Needless to say, we very much look forward to showing you why we love to call this beautiful place our home.
A few quick facts about us:
• Bermudians are descendants of slaves from the West Indies and West Africa, English settlers, Irish adventurers, exiled North American Indian prisoners and Portuguese immigrants
• The typical Bermudian accent can still be traced to Elizabethan English. In fact, Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is believed to have been inspired by the shipwreck of the “Sea Venture”. The character Ariel makes reference to “the still-vex’d Bermoothes”.
• Historically, we are sea adventurers – fishermen, whalers, traders and privateers. Today, Bermudian seamanship can be seen in our annual yacht and fitted dinghy races.
• We honour old world manners: “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” are an absolute must for Bermudians.
Shipwrecks. African drum beats. And those famous shorts. Our island’s culture is a rich fusion of British colonial history and African heritage that has developed into something unlike anywhere else in the world.
As Britain’s oldest colony, its influence continues to dominate our government, educational and legal institutions. You may spot one of our judges walking through Hamilton in a powdered wig, see a bobby directing traffic or overhear a passionate conversation about a local cricket match.
African influences, while subtler, can be found in our dance and music, especially reggae, calypso and the rhythm of the Gombeys—our magnificent dancing and drumming troupes that often take to the streets.
• So-called Bermuda shorts were originally borrowed in the early 20th century from the British military’s uniform for hot climes. Although often colourful – pink is a favourite – do not mistake our shorts as informal. We take our shorts so seriously, in fact, we passed a law: no shorts shorter than six inches above the knee.
• Island cuisine is a reflection of our blended heritage and coastal access to premier local seafood such as wahoo and the ubiquitous rockfish. Our traditional dishes include Codfish and Potatoes (served either the English way with hard boiled egg, egg sauce and olive oil or Portuguese influenced with a tomato-onion sauce), Hoppin’ John (peas and rice), Pawpaw Casserole and, of course, Bermuda Fish Chowder.
• Bermuda’s architecture features whitewashed stepped roofs designed to channel rainwater into underground tanks. This is the main supply of fresh water as there are no rivers or lakes here.
• Bermuda is also famous for two signature drinks: the Dark ‘n Stormy® (featuring our own Gosling’s Black Seal Rum mixed with Ginger Beer) and the Bermuda Rum Swizzle
• The occurrence of ships and planes mysteriously disappearing in the area called the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ has made our island famous around the world. However, scientists believed the causes behind these mysterious disappearances were due to hurricanes, waterspouts, rogue waves and other potential geophysical phenomena
Courtesy of Bermuda Tourism
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